The University of Newcastle, Australia

Investing in something meaningful

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Professor Billie Bonevski is a health behaviour scientist at UON, dedicated to improving health in the community. Billie’s research looks at why people engage in unhealthy behaviours, like smoking, drinking too much alcohol, not being physically active or eating unhealthily, and uses that information to design programs and advise the Government and other health organisations, on policies to empower people to be healthier.

Billie is also part of the team overseeing the effectiveness of the national ‘Slip Slop Slap Slide and Seek’ Cancer Council campaign, which aims to influence sun protection behaviours.

Billie’s important and community-focused work is made possible with the assistance of the Gladys M Brawn Career Development Fellowship, which provides funding to health and medicine researchers who are, or have the potential to become, international leaders in their field of research.

The scheme is a result of a generous bequest given to the University in 1995 to the Faculty of Health and Medicine, from the late Leslie Harold Brawn in memory of his wife Gladys M Brawn. Leslie Brawn was to outlive his beloved wife by more than 50 years, and wanted to leave a legacy that would ensure they both continue to make a profound difference beyond their lifetime. Since then this has grown to be the largest philanthropic endowment at the University of Newcastle. The 7th to the 11th of March is National Wills Week, and is a fitting time to celebrate those who choose to make a difference through their will.

“As a researcher I can’t express how grateful I am to people who donate to medical and health research and I hope donors also feel that they are investing in something meaningful,” Billie said.

Not only has the Fellowship enabled Billie to fund pilot projects, purchase necessary equipment and share her research at conferences around the world, but it also keeps her research progressing.

“Each day we make the research stronger, we create new partnerships and collaborations, and we get to share this with the relevant agencies and departments as well as the scientific community,” she said.

If you would like to learn more about the Gladys M Brawn Memorial Fellowship or how to leave a bequest in your will, please visit

  • Niki Hennessy
  • Phone: 4985 4980

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